I hate drinking water.
I’ve tried adding flavored tea bags or a few drops of lemon to it, even promising myself a special treat if I drank sixty-four ounces that day. My coworker and I challenged each other, buying matching water bottles with time markers on the side that told us where our water intake should be at certain times of the day. We’d ask one another in passing, “How many ounces are you at?” I’d color in the little box on my daily goal sheet that beamed up at me, announcing, “Good girl! You drank your water today.”
Like someone who tries over and over again to quit a habit, I--on the other hand--can’t seem to form this habit. My ambitions always seem to melt into a puddle (no pun intended) in a few short weeks and I’m back to staring at an almost-full water bottle at the end of the day.
But, I’m an overcomer. I WILL conquer this!
Here’s the thing. I’ve always heard that the more you drink water, the thirstier you become. Not that you can’t ever feel satisfied, but that your body gets to the place where it craves water because, well, the body is ninety-eight percent water--why wouldn’t it? We don’t realize when we’ve become dehydrated because our bodies have learned to tolerate the deficit. But we aren’t aware that the deficit is taking an unseen toll on our bodies.
I do have my disciplined areas. Reading my Bible every day has always been a pretty established habit. (Glad I have a better handle on that than I do with drinking my water!) I challenged myself for several years to read the entire Bible in one year. As life goes, some days were busier than others and there were times I found myself rushing through the somewhere-near three chapters a day that I needed to get through. Sure, I’d developed the habit, but it was often just that: a habit.
Was I really getting anything out of what I was reading every day?
I was already applying the same principle to my Bible reading as that of developing a craving for water by partaking in it more often. But I wanted to change things up. Instead of just reading the chapters, I decided to slow down and study them. Absorb them.
I purchased a journaling Bible (see photo below!). I made sure to get the extra-wide-margins version because, let’s face it, once I start writing, I have a lot to say. I focused on reading one chapter a day (more if it was a super short chapter) so that I could study it out and refer to a commentary for extra clarification. I tried to visualize what was really happening in the passage and reflect on how it spoke to me.
There’s no way to describe what a difference this approach made for me. I was spending twice the time on that one chapter than I had in the past reading three chapters. There were times I found myself stopping in the middle of my reading and just being in awe of what I was learning. I would even go find my husband to ask, “Did you know that . . .?”
Dainty Jewell’s blogger, Whitney Gothra, said it well in her recent blog post, Catching Up, “...statistics show that most people have already fallen off their plan by February…” What that tells me is that we are lacking not only the discipline, but the joy that comes with not just reading but absorbing God’s word. When you engage in your reading and let it speak to your heart, you will come to desire it even more.
Like water. Not only do we need it, but the more we partake, the more we crave it.
Here’s a photo of a page in my journaling Bible. Aren’t those WIDE margins amazing?!